Kevin’s update letter, KUL #29, September 2015

Elkton Kevin



KEVIN'S,UPDATE LETTER KUL #29, SEPTEMBER 2015 ADDRESS: KEVIN INTRODUCTION Welcome to Kevin's Update Letter #29. This is the occasional update letter from Kevin [redacted], an inmate at FSL-Elkton, a U.S. federal prison. I'm serving a 72-month sentence for possessing and sharing child pornography. Born and raised in GA, I've lived in NC for college (Duke U.) and IL where I attended grad school (Univ. of Chicago) and completed a post—doctora| fellowship (Northwestern U.). At the time of my arrest, I was a tenured college professor at Columbia College. I was a first time offender who had never been arrested. Still, I faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years with sentencing guidelines of 9- 11 years (WTF?!?!?!?). I have about 3 months left on my sentence, so I've seen and learned a lot. This is probably the last (or maybe penultimate i.e. "next-to—last") letter that I'll be sending from Elkton. As such, I do a little reflection on my time here. I've also quizzed some of my fellow inmates about l_ife here and their thoughts. I share their perspectives. I share a few editorials from newspapers and reflections on people who have departed. I This letter began as a small note for friends and family. Then I began to send it to activists and inmates’ families. Next, I began to include academics, judges, attorneys, politicians, policy analysts, journalists, and others interested in crime, punishment, and prison, particularly as it relates to the crimes that brought me to prison and issues like supervised release and sex offender registration that I'll face after prison....the things that I know best from prison and looking forward. So, if you're getting this letter and don't know me personally, that's why you're getting the letter. Regardless, I hope that you enjoy the letter and find it insightful. If you have questions, ask them. If you want to write me, go ahead. I love receiving your notes and try and answer personal letters. TABLE OF CONTENTS, —LIFE ON THE COMPOUND ........ ..What's new at Elkton-FSL since the last letter —QUOTES/READING ................ ..inspiring and/or timely words and books that I've recently discovered -THE SURVEY ....................... ..You've read my thoughts. What do other inmates at Elkton think. -LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA/USSC .... .. an attorney and activist shares her thoughts in a published letter -NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL .............. ..chal|enges residency restrictions for sex offenders -THE GANG WAS ALL HERE ....... ..I introduce you to former inmates at Elkton whoérhave gone home. -THOUGHTS ON MY TIME HERE.....l'm winding down my time. Humorous (?) reflections on the world that I left LIFE ON THE COMPOUND Halfway House- On Dec. 23rd, I'll be leaving Elkton and going to halfway house (HH) a.k.a. "residential re—entry center." At least it's sort of a halfway house. I'll be a guest of the Lake Co. (IL) Sheriffs’ Dept. So far, I don't have any information about the facility other than the address and that it has 11 beds. HH should allow me to leave and go to work. I'm somewhat hesitant about HH at a sheriff's facility because there won't be a chow hall, library, chapel, rec. facilities, etc. If I can get to work quickly and show that I ‘have work and a place to live in Chicago, maybe they'll cut me loose and put me on an ankle bracelet and allow me to live at home (and still continue to pay for my bed at the hallway's policy; you don't want to know.). If not, it's 6 months (at the longest) until June 23rd when I'll be out of BOP custody entirely. Recreation- Softbal|- We wrapped up a 60+ game season with an A/B-league championship! We finished the regular season in second place before we won the first round of playoffs (2 games to none) and won the finals in a best 3-of-5 games series. The series went to the fifth game. A week later, we had a church team come in from the outside to play an FSL All-Star team. I was chosen (by whom?) to start in left field. Most of the compound turned out for the game, and the church team brought good sportsmanship, great athletes, and some fellowship. It was nice see some civilians. I acquitted myself well during the game, and we won 21-18. So, Final Elkton softball wrap-up- 5 years, 5 playoff finals, 2 championships. I continue to teach my spin class 3 times/week. We just picked up two new members as two men (Kokostka, Dan Gay) have left the facility! _Kjcl_<,b_aJJ; Yes, this children's game has come to Elktonll I played on a team that lost in a Labor Day tournament. But on a more positive note, I finished second place in a Labor Day bocce ball tournament. ' . GED tutoring-A GED tutoring is still my prison job. While the rest of the world has moved onto the computer test, we're still using the pencil-and-paper test. But that's changing soon. I just heard today that one of my students just passed his GED test. He needed to pass his math portion, and that's all we focused on in the recent run-up to his exam. Besides that inmate, I have ' 6 inmates in my 8-10 a.m. class. One student is strongly motivated, two are tepidly motivated, and three aren't motivated at all. I doubt any of these men will graduate before I leave, but I'll take them as far as I can before then. I now tutor with 3 students in the evening and will do more now that softball is over. ' I My presumptive a.m. replacement works with me and he'll do fine after I leave. He was a schoolteacher on the outside, and he has the teaching skills, the passion, and knowledge to do well. Prepping to head home- Now that I'm less than 3 months from leaving, it's time to downsize my prison belongings and send home what I want to keep. Prison reform articles, books, my artwork, and entrepreneurship class projects need to be packed and shipped. Everything else will be given away when I leave. I'll take a small amount of things I need with me to HH. Meanwhile in the Unit.- In the last letter, I mentioned that lots of newer inmates from Up the Hill and otherrprisons had arrived at the FSL. They've mostly settled in. One of the biggest changes was that many of the new inmates became prime customers for stolen kitchen food that other new inmates began stealing from the kitchen when they started working there. Stolen food became such a problem that other inmates working in the kitchen sent notes to the higher-ups detailing what was happening-—naming names of inmates and COs. This resulted in a Town Hall meeting of kitchen staff. The message was delivered that inmates should stop steal--err--snitching. The higher-ups didn't really address the stealing. Theyjust addressed the "whistle blowing." Figures..... Other developments: Every so often, staff will begin to focus on new contraband and rules priorities. Maybe that's how they deal with the stifling boredom that must come with the job. Too many books in lockers, coffee mugs with designs painted on them, cigarettes, etc. In the last quarter, there's been a big emphasis on keeping your locker top free of coffee mugs, « unauthorized picture frames on lockers (note: They haven't sold the "authorized" frames in over 4 years....), and excess clothing. I get it. Appearances count and unnecessary clutter creates hazards_and harbors germs. But really? Mugs on locker tops? I guess nature abhors a vacuum, and where there aren't rules being broken by some folks, the importance of some rules must be elevated so that there's SOMETHING to be enforced. But does tell me that they found heroin in one of the warehouses here. So why don't they focus on that....???? _ This isn't planned to be my last Update Letter. I'd like to report from halfway house and then life after release. It'd be nice to do it by email or put it in a blog. However, if you lose track of me after Dec. 23rd, you should be able to find me at one of these addresses. =After Dec. 23rd- Fed. BOP Residential Re-entry Center, [redacted] =Family in GA- [redacted] They'll always know where I am. Prison Reform-I We're all excited about prison reform here. There are lots of inmates here on non—vio|ent drug offenses who have sentence reductions and will be leaving soon. Another part of that drug reform legislation takes effect on Nov. 1 and will impact more inmates. Many of us are firm believers that the rising tide/pendulum swing (pick your metaphor) of sentencing and prison reform will ultimately impact all inmates. Many of us feel that with many first-time offenders and low recidivism rates among child pornography (CP) offenders that we'll be moved quickly out of halfway houses and should exist pretty far down on the suddenly overloaded federal probation officers‘ caseloads. Much of the current criminal justice reform focuses on drug crimes (I think it's largely driven by appeals to black votes, but that's another story....), and some of it explicitly leaves out sex offenders. Still, some of the legislation impacts everyone in federal prison. Also, the U.S. Sentencing Commission continues to keep federal CP sentencing guidelines among its annual priorities. I recently sent them a letter endorsing reform. My parents sent one also. Later in this Update Letter, I include a well- written letter by Barbara Gale that was sent to the USSC and President Obama and subsequently published in a daily newspaper. That's followed by a great New York Times editorial. None of the prison reform will directly impact me, but maybe a changing tone toward rehabilitation, supervised release, and sex offenders will help me down the line. Visits and back in GA/AL/IL-I've had no visits lately, but that's alright. Family back in GA, AL, and IL are all doing fine. More on them in the next letter. Enjoy the letterll ‘I: Peace and Best, MY INMATE SURVEY/ PART 1 OF 2 3 In an Update Letter several years ago, I shared the results of an inmate survey. Well, inmates have come and gone since then <sigh>, and I thought I'd pose the questions again. I passed out 35 surveys; 20 came back. These are their answers. It's not scientific, but it's honest (?), and the intent was thought and creative venting. I share half of their responses to half of the questions here (to be continued in a future letter...) When asked to "Define prison in one word," inmates shared the following: survivable, loneliness, costly, confinement, boring (2), loud, ridiculous oppressive, experience, WOW!, different, isolating , exasperating, absurd, ineffective, annoying, tedious, waiting, self-zombfication, human warehouse. "What is your prison mantra..’?": "Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate b|iss."- Alexander Dumas/// That things will change for those that I leave behind///Patience and stay busy///It is what it is///Joshua 1:9 (With God, all things are possible)///I'm one day closer.///I've survived worse things/times in my life already-This is not plegasant but it is doable.///Relax and live easy.///Good night, one day closer to freedom.//NVe||, if one inmate has contraband why not join in.///Don't let your time do you.///Don't sweat the small stuff.///Can't wait to get home!///This too shall pass. (2)///You do you, and I'll do me.///Another day closer to being with the ones I love.///lt could be worse.//It will all be over soon. If you pay no attention to it, it's almost like it's not even here. I asked men "What are 15 things that you cannot wait to do wlqmyou get out or miss from home?" There were some obvious answers (in quotes). There was some not-surprising overlap (in parentheses) and some interesting, novel answers. "Family" (10) was a big, obvious choice. Men miss "friends" (7), "wife" (3) and "grandkids" (2). Men miss "women" (2), "going on dates" (2), "the neighbors" -(2), and "holiday gatherings" (3). Apparently, we miss our technologies. "Videogames" (7), "texting" (2), "email", "Google", "YouTube", "Internet" (2), -a "computer" (2), and "NetFlix" rang in. We miss "|ong phone calls" (3), controlling the "TV remote" (11) and "unedited movies" (6). We also want to hear our "music" "without headphones". We want to "make our own music" on our "drum kits" -and on a "real organ." 1 But we're notjust couch potatoes. We're "dog" people (5), not "cat" (1) people. We're "baseball" fans (1) who miss the "Cubs" (1), "Pirates" (1), and "Red Sox" (1). We miss activities like "swimming" (3), "mountain biking" (2), "going to the beach" (5), "nature walks", "jogging country roads", "SCUBA diving", "fishing", "gardening", "dirt track racing", "remodeling", "sitting on the deck", and "going to Cedar Point"amusement park (2). We miss "travel" (2 )["to GA/F|"] and "driving the tractor". We can't wait to get back to "watching hockey", "washing our car", "bowling", "our boat", and "live music". We miss "playing golf", "partying", "skiing", and "shoveling snow from our driveway" [Ed. note: Really, I can't say I miss that one..]. Prison takes a toll on one's freedom (Duhl). Wemiss "driving" (12), "doing things I choose/freedom" (3), "real clothes'' (2) ["blue jeans" (2), "sandals", "hoodies", "anything not green", "belts"], "private bathrooms" (2), "shopping at a store" (6), "walking in our underwear",H"respect from others", "talking to polite people". We miss "courtesy" and "being out past 9 pm" (3). We miss "quiet" and look fon/vard to "no more standing counts", "loudspeakers", and not "living with criminals." We look forward to "more storage space" (2) and our "personal libraries", the "Boston Globe", and ''real time stock info". We look forward to worship in ~ our "own churches" (3). We look forward to "controlling the |ights" and the ability to set a schedule and "be a night person". And when we walk out of here, we don't want to just exist, we want to thrive and contribute. We want "jobs I like" (3), "to bring positive to the world", to "take risks", and "address inequities". We want "money in my pocket" to buy a "muscle car". Let's face it. Prison STINKS and prison food might be the worst of it. We miss "nutritious and delicious food" and "eating choices" (6). We want to "cook my own meals" on "my grill" (2). We want "lasagna" ["Olive Garden"], "lobster bisque", "filet mignon", and "ribs". Oh, and we want it "on a real plate" But it doesn't have to be fancy for some guys. We miss "fast food" (2), "chicken wings", "Chic-Fil-A", "Mexican food", "pizza" (4) and "bacon" (2). It can be "Mom's food". Or whatever's in "the refrigerator." We want an "alcoholic beverage" (4) ["Crown Royal Manhattan"] or an "O'Doul's" for the less alcohol inclined guys. We want to follow the meal with "Starbucks", a "real peach", "cheesecake" and "good homemade ice cream" (2). At the end of the day, after work and dinner, we want to "enjoy a sunset without a building in the way". We want to be under "trees", and enjoy our "bare feet on carpet". We want to "relax in a chair ["recliner"]-that doesn't hurt" and "a bed that doesn't hurt" (6). Oh, and could I get a "pillow" (3)? And a "down comforter"? We want "cuddling on the couch" and sometimes "sex". I asked inmates what FREEDOM they'll miss most acutely as ex-cons: As convicts on supervised release some (5) will miss "traveling when I want to." An equal number will miss the right to own guns. Others mentioned voting (2), the ability to have a job without being judged, the ability to leave my past behind, international travel, and the ability to interact with people that they've met in prison. As sex offenders, two men mentioned that they'd miss the ability to go to the park and to go to the amusement park with his family. One respondent wrote that he didn't know. While we're in prison, we're constantly reminded that we're here. What is your daily REMINDER that you're in prison? The "wire fence" (3), "count time" (4), "recall" (2), "waiting in line for food" (2), "waking up in a warehouse full of guys" (2), "no Internet or connection to the outside world", "shared bathrooms", "drug dealers using the word "joint" all the time", "the noise level'', "the loud speaker", "locked doors", "poor food quality" and...."everything." Of course, prison presents challenges and keeps us from our freedoms. That's what we expect from prison. But what of the UNEXPECTED of prison? What's been the biggest surprise so far? "|t's not like TV, at least not here. I feel sa-Fe" * "The prejudice that exists here" * "The amount of intelligent, talented people as prisoners" * "How dirty (hygiene) people are. Disrespectful!" * "lack of trade, education, re-entry preparation'—'.?_;;--* "How much of a union mentality prevails here---Everything depends on seniority; individual accomplishments are never considered." * " "Time passes quicker than I thought." * "the lack of control, lack of training, bias, and fear of COs as well as their ineptitude." * "how many people don't deserve the lengthy sentences." * "Being at a low security - the amount of freedom l have to go about my day and make my own schedule." * "Being able to meet good people." * "the ability to be able to move about inside of the fences and the dorms" * "politeness- "excuse me’, ‘thank you‘, ‘my bad’ and holding doors for one another" * "cleaner and less violent than I thought" * "that it is more punishing for the families of inmates than for the inmates." * "No rapes. It's not a bad thing." * "the lack of programs for rehabilitation" * "more dick—heads than I expected, COs also" * "|t's not like the movies. There are a lot of normal everyday people here. It's not dark and dingy like you always see in the movies" ‘ml-l'\e. Bob C‘._c.-tr‘3r‘ooI1 Gallfir _ "T0a’ay’sfligbz‘ is oruerbaoked. I5 tlyerelsomeone wbo would accept at free tmruel voucher in.rez‘u7J:nf0r feacliing us bow to correctly 504% czflzgbz‘? %\-<1‘ “Tbaz"sju5z‘a éus/.2 tbaz‘ /mjfipem z‘0 fie 0nfire———I’m over /yere. ” QUOTES/BOOKS "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebeIs...They push the human race fon/vard. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Becuase the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." --from Apple computer's 1980s "Think Different" campaign. "l've gotten to the point in my life where no one can hurt me now. I don't care who knows, and I want to show them that I was an honorable person." --Donald Hallman, who in 1955 at 21 years of age, was discharged from the military as "undesirable" for being homosexual. He's seeking to have his discharge changed to ".honorab|e." ‘ ’ - "The nice thing about going to Stanford was that you didn't live in a fishbowl. You had a lot of license to sort of be a normal dude. You know, there were people doing wayioooler things than playing quarterback on Saturday. Curing cancer, stem cell research, composing incredible scores." --Andrew Luck in "The Natural" in Rolling Stone. . . "But America isn't the Stanford campus. For better or worse, this country cares more about its sports stars that it does about composers or cancer researchers." -—author Matt Taibbi in "The Natural" BS ''If you're thinking about an idea that can be solved in your lifetime, you're thinking too small." —-Dan Barber, James Beard Award winning chef. "There are times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." --Elie Wiesel, 1985 "The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in the times of moral crisis." --Dante, circa 1316 Q‘ . "If you wanted an education, you should have gone to Harvard." --Head coach of UNC football team to the team. The quote‘ came to light during the recent "paper classes" scandal at the university. "The whole thing has this sort of Taylor Swift-meets-jihad feel." --Chadwick Moore from "My Month of Hell in a Gay Cross Fit Cult," (OUT magazine) "Commuting the sentences of a few drug dealers is a move designed to spur headlines, not meaningful reform." -Rep Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) on President Obama's recent use of executive clemency . "My daughter was born 2 days before I was suspended, and she'll be 26 next month. I could have murdered 3 people and be out by now." --Pete Rose in responding to his suspension from Major League Baseball. [Come on Pete, "murdered 3 people"? Really? Triple homicide? REALLY? You've been suspended from baseball, not serving time in a maximum security prison.] "I don't know about laying in a gutter strung out on drugs." --Country music musician Luke Bryan on his thematic choice for music . "I'm pretty sure that every time Guy Fieriputs barbecue pork inside a nori roll, an angel dies." --Chef Anthony Bourdain "America is ceasing to be a nation and turning into a giant television show. And this Republican race is our first and most brutal casting call.'' --Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone "...some kind of genocide." --Actor Jesse Eisenberg, finding a comparison to his meeting of screaming ‘fans at ComicCon. "Can a Sistah get ONE fan?" --Singer Brandy in a tweet after being completely ignored on a NYC subway while singing a Whitney Houston song. [Maybe you shou|d've brought along AutoTune or your back-up singers or checked your demographic first.] BOOKS All the Light That We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr), The Social Conquest of the Earth (E.O Wilson), Palindrome (Stuart Wood), Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse, Richard Grtner I 4 I mo; 19515 on 4.5 YEARS, I I I People ask me, "Doesn't it seem like just yesterday that you reported to prison?" The short answer is "No." Time here moves more quickly than I thought it would. Still, the days move slowly; the weeks move quickly; the months move slowly. It's hard to forget that I've been here for years. Let's do a brief consideration of how things have changed since I've been in prison. Before I arrived in prison I had little gray hair, now I have more. Before I arrived in prison, Austin Rivers, Jabari Parker, and Jahlil Okafor were in high school. Now they've each played one year of basketball for Duke and moved onto the NBA. Before I arrived in prison, Duke football had been to zero football bowl games recently. If things go well, they'll be on their way to their fourth consecutive bowl by the time that I leave. Before I came to Elkton, one of my nieces was starting high school. Now that same niece is in college. Her sister and another niece and nephew were in lower grades; now they are in high school. Before I came to prison, R.E.M. encouraged us to sing along, Jared encouraged us to eat at Subway, and wefthought Bruce Jenner was happy being a man. Now R.E.M. has split, Jared might be coming to Elkton on CP charges and Caitlin Jenner is a woman. Before I came to prison, you'd never heard of Edward Snowden, Dominique Strauss Kahn, Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, Freddie Gray, Mike Brown, Ferguson, "HandtUp. Don't Shoot," or ''Black Lives Matter." Before prison, drones were something the government used in Iraq; now citizens use them. Before prison, we talked about putting rovers on Mars; now we talk about putting people on Mars. Before Elkton, I assumed prisons were mostly full of dangerous, proudly criminal, lifetime career offenders. Now, I see that it's full of some bright, harmless, former taxing payer, first- (and only-) time offending family men. =~ Before I arrived in prison, in Chicago, the Museum of Broadcast Communications was unfinished, SoFo Tap and Cantina 1910 were just ideas, and the Chicago Riverfront was largely undeveloped. Today, they are are all open for business. Before I arrived in prison, we were talking about the inevitability of Hillary Clinton, the future political aspirations of Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney and how to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Arab Spring hadn't sprung. Today, we talk about The Donald and Bernie Sanders. We still talk about Hillary's inevitabi|ity...sort of. And the Arab Spring--it gave rise to an Egyptian revolution and then a failed Syrian revolution, among others. The Syrian civil war birthed something called ISIS. You've heard about ISIS for awhile now. Before I arrived in prison, the Cubs didn't have Theo Epstein, video scoreboards, new owners, new ballplayers, and Wild Card aspirations. Now they do. Before I arrived in prison, the Atlanta Braves still played baseball in Fulton County. By the time I leave, they'll be new inhabitants of Cobb County, GA. . Before prison, CRISPR/Cas 9 wasn't well known in biological science. Now, it's been patented and stands poised to change the way that we edit genomes in science and medicine. . Before I came to prison, the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage weren't effectively established law in this country. Now, you can get either one of them across the U.S. (except in Kentucky). I thought ENDA would be law by now (frown). ‘After arriving at Elkton, I was the only person you knew discussing federal prison reform. Now, it's all over the news. Before prison, in Chicago it was Mayor Daley; now it's two-term Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. Before I came to prison, I was closer to 40 than 50. Now, I'm a lot closer to 50. When I arrived in prison, Miley Cyrus was a teenager. If you've been following her career, she's not doing teenage stuff anymore. Ditto Justin Beiber. When I arrived in prison, Taylor Swift and Eric Church were relatively new names in country music. Not so much anymore. Before prison I played an occasional weekend softball game double-header; now, I've played in over 300 (I) prison softball games. ?e'2cs'r‘a,e..((£-i‘l3 /\icE’t.«/.$' e 7-)"lAL{Y\§”, /AD‘43- 25, Z6315 We are on asipp ear President Obama: 9 D I am pleased that you are . considering prison reform: In the past 20 years or so, we have gone crazy —- whether it be legisla- tors, judges or prosecutors, all try- ing to be “tough on crime.” An old- er lawyer recently commented at a conference that when he began practicing law the sentence for murder was seven years. How far‘ have we come‘? I think way too far. Life without hope. Sentences of nmsm min: the police came. Amazingly, a per- son can get thumbnails —— small images -- from legal sites that, if you click on them; will open child pornography. Curiosity kills the , cat. The state court judge gave him 25 years, after checkingthevfedr - eral guidelines. ‘ - Studies have been done to show there is no connection between looking at .child pornography and Child Pornography from Child “life without the possibility of parole” are creating monsters. If - you take away any hope of ever getting out of prison, there is no reason to behave.’ Prison .- violence is at an all—time high. They have noth- ing to lose. Even ‘Charles Manson has hope for parole. Not many crimes‘ in this century have matched his for violence and depravity. Drugs. We- are losing the war on drugs -— pris- on isn’t really the answer there. The dealers are ‘ replaced on the streets before the arrestee has even been booked. The users will be addicts be- fore they get out, whether they serve one or 20 years. Education is the better tool in that fight. Do away with mandatory minimum sentences. Let the judges have more control —- they are "more aware of the circumstances of each case. . Crime of the Century. The crime of the cen- tury, if you will, has become child pornography. Production and sale of child pornography should be dealt with harshly‘. The underlying child mo- lestation supports long sentences. Making mon- ey from that act is deplorable. I feel empathy, however, for the thousands whoare convicted for mere possession. Possession has cometo mean opening a link. The courts have decided ' that when someone opens an Internet link they somehow possess its contents. I go to my local car dealership and open a door on a new luxury car, I in no way possess it. We have gone crazy. _ Until the last 20 years, child pornography was never really heard of. The Internet has opened ' ‘all sorts‘ of doors. The ,folks..we are punishing, mostly single White males in their,20s and 30s‘, are viewing pornography in the privacy of their own homes. Their secret activity would not even be known if it wasn't for the task forces that do nothing but watch Internet activity searching for child pornography. The right to privacy was thrown. out by our jurists and lawmakers because of our abhorrence of any crime involving.chil- ‘- dren. Will that waiver of the right to privacy ex- tend to all crimes?-We are on a ‘slippery slope. Catching the pen). Once the task force finds the suspect algorithms, they contact the Internet ser- -vice provider to learn the identity ofthe individ- ual owning that co1nputer.'Then they get a war- rant, show up, seize the computer and arrest the owner. There is no defense. These are the men who are filling up our prisons. Thousands of them. For no other crime than watching a video. First- time offenders are getting 5, 10, even 20 years for mere possession, which was just a misdemeanor until a few years ago. Don’t let them learn from their mistakes -- just, lock them up for life. And this is the United States,'not Nazi ,Germany. . ’ This travesty ‘is further exacerbated by the waythe charges are determined. If it is a film,’ each image or clip is “often considered a sepa- rate count. A Georgia universitystudent was sentenced to 100 years for child pornography. He never’ touched a child, wasn’_t ‘making or selling child pornography. Actual perpetrators donft get that muchtime. - ‘ ‘ Isat in on a case with an elderly man who had ~ recently bought his first computer. Imagine his shock when the images first. appeared, without him searching for them. Then the unbelief when GUEST COLUMNIST Sex Abuse,” 88 Wash. U.L. Rev. 853, 875 (20_11).,We have enacted several laws in the heat of the moment -—— Me- gan’s Law, the Adam Walsh Act, SORNA —-which throw anyone convicted of any crime even re- motely connected to child abuse in the same pot. No studies,_no hearings, no true rationale. Sexoffender registries. We have put offenders on federal and state sex offender registries which have destroyed and will continue to destroy their lives beyond any reason. ‘Rather than law en- forcement keeping track of serious predators, we have added crimes to the registries so even child- ish pranks can land someone on the list. I remem- berthe streaking phase of the "70s -—~ if someone under 18 were ‘present, those guys would still be on the registry. Don’t get drunk and urinate in public. Ifa child sees you, Wham! At 19, don’t fall ' in love with someone 15. Wehave lost track of the real threat ofpredators while chasing others who are easy prey but pose no threat. , ' Then we made the registry public, and endan- gered the very lives of so many families. Homes have been burned, pets killed, shots fired, in- nocent children’s lives destroyed. The criminal justice system should not be encouraging vigi- lantes, but it is. Are sex offenders more danger- ous than drug dealers or gangbangers? Why isn’t there a registry for all‘ crimes? After all, we have done away with the right toprivacy; Shouldn’t we all have the right to know who pur neighbors are and, more importantly, what_mis- takes they have made in their lives? Oh, Hester Prynne, where is that Scarlet Letter? Who's watching the children. My main concern is for the children of the folks on the registries. They will have absent parents, even if their par- ents are not in jail. The registered citizens can’t ’ go to ball games, the park, school functions and, in many states, not even to church. They can’t livefor work within 1,000 feet of a school, church, park, daycare center. We have gone crazy. with- punishment because of our gut reaction, rather than giving individuals achance to correct their behavior. Lie detector tests disguised as aids to counseling result in imprisonment for_many - citizens over minor infractions, rather than ac- tually-helping the offender with‘ underlying problems. How can one be honesfwith a coun- selor whose sole purpose is to put you back -in jail? Get rid of the lie detector tests, Talk about. a violation of our constitutionalrights. Please urge the reduction of sentences for more possession of child pornography. Our pris- ons are full of these offenders, who are target- ‘ ed as if they were child molesters. Let's return some reason to ourlaws. Posses- sion should be a misdemeanor for a first-time offense. Distribution without profit, such as file-sharing, should be the same. Save the longer sentences for those who actually . exploit and sexually molest children. Make the registry only for law enforcement, if we are to have it at all. And make it only for serious crimes.- Barbara Gale is an attorney in Rome, eeorgeza. She sent this to President Barack: Obqmo and the United States Sentencing Commission in Washington, D.C. ery slope child abuse. See “Disentangling . A24 Y THE NEW YORK TIMES EDlTOR|ALS/ LETTERS TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1112 New florlt Eiimcs ARTHUR ocns SULZBERGER JR., Publisher, Chairman ADOLPH S. OCHS Publisher 189 6-1935 Founded in 1851 PubIisher1935-1961 ARTHUR HAYS SULZBERGER ORV“. E. DRYFOOS Publisher 1961-1963 ARTHUR OCHS SULZBERGER Publisher 1963-1992 Banishing Sex Offenders l)oesn’t Help It’s a chilling image: the sex predator skulking in the shadows of a swingset, waiting to snatch a vulnerable child. Over the past two decades, that scenario has led to a wave of laws around the country restricting where people convicted of sex offenses may live —- in many cases, no closer than 2,500 feet from schools, playgrounds, parks or other areas where children gather. In some places, these “predator-free zones” put an entire town or county off limits, sometirries for life,‘ even for those whose offenses had nothing to do with children. ' Protecting children from sexual abuse is, of course, a‘ paramount concern. But there is not a single piece of evi- dence that these laws actually do that. For one thing, the vast majority of child" sexual abuse is committed not by strangers but by acquaintances or relatives. And residen- cy laws drive tens of thousands of people to the fringes of society, forcing them to live in motels, out of cars or under bridges. The laws apply to many and sometimes all sex offenders, regardless of whether they were convicted for molesting a child or for public urination. "Lately, judgeshave been pushing back. So far in 2015, state supreme courts in California, Massachusetts and New York have struck down residency laws. The Massachusetts ruling, issued on Aug. 28, invali- ‘ dated a residency restriction in the town of Lynn —- and by extension, similar restrictions in about 40 other communi- ties statewide 4- in part because it swept up so many offenders, regardless of the actual risk they posed. Acting against a whole class presents “grave societal and consti- tutional implications," the justices wrote. That unanimous ruling was based on the State Constitution. ‘ The California Supreme Court went further, holding that a San Diego residency restriction, which effectively barred paroled sex offenders from 97 percent of available housing, violated the United States Constitution Far from protecting children and communities, the California court found, blanket restrictions in fact create a greater safety‘ risk by driving more sex offenders into -homelessness, which makes them both harder to monitor and less likely to get essential rehabilitative services like medical treatment, psychotherapy and job assistance. Residency laws often lead people to live apart from their families, obliterating what is for many the most sta- bilizing part of their lives. _ ' . If the state wants to hlor:k’someone from living in cer- ‘{ tain areas, the California court ‘said, it must make thatide- cision on a case—by-case basis. . The United States Supreme Court has not yet weighed in on residency restrictions, although a 2003 rul- ing upholding mandatory registration for sex offenders suggested that such laws may violate the Constitution. It is understandable to want to do everything possible to protect children from being abused. But not all people who have been convicted of sex offenses pose a risk to children, if they pose any risk at all. Blanket residency-re striction laws disregard that reality -- and the merits of an individualized approach to risk assessment — in favor of a_ comforting mirage of safety. ”l71,7,Z7iii .._..._......_.._._......_.._____.._..é.._.__ THE GANG WAS ALL HERE THE GANG WAS ALL HERE- RECENTLY DEPARTED FROM FSL-ELKTON CATFISH-Left the last week of March. But the legend lives on. This was a man of many rumors. Catfish never met a man that he wouldn't say "hello" to. At least hello, maybe more. Anyway, he's gone to halfway house in Pittsburgh where I alternately hear that he's doing okay and that he's violated and up the Hill for any manner of violations. I'll go with doing-err-mostly okay. [Updatez Catfish violated with alcohol in the facility and a second cell phone (smart phone) that he was using to post pictures to social media. He's at the FCI up the hi|I.] VOWELS- This man was my longtime lunch and dinner companion. He proved that White Sox and Cubs baseball and Indiana Hoosier and Duke basketball fans can co-exist. We shared books, magazines, and interests. Now he's gone back to Evansville, IN where he spent several months at halfway house before returning home to enjoy his retirement from the U.S. Postal Service with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Everyone at visit was surprised that he has such an attractive wife. Many thought he must be rich (fulfilling the stereotypes of the older, rich guy and the attractive wife...). Turns out he is just humorous and interesting, and some women like that. Served about 4 years here which was about 3.5 years,_too long. One of the rules about ex-cons is that they aren't supposed tobe in contact with other ex-cons while under superviséél release. It's to keep ex-cons from putting together criminal enterprises; I get it. Still, of about a handful of former inmates that I'd like to stay in some contact with, he'd be one of them....Get together with spouses for Cubs/Sox games, pizza, and fireworks at the Chicago Lakefront. lRlSH- a native of Dallas, TX, Irish (think skinny version of Mr. Clean) worked in the kitchen and played softball and soccer. He got his wish and was transferred to a prison in Texas to be closer to home. Known as a prankster, he famously told Iraqi Fred that, "We don't say ‘Happy St. Patrick's Day’ in this country; it's 'Merry St. Patrick's Day." Fred obliged by telling everyone that all day. DEAD EYES- An intense, former Iraq/Afghanistan veteran, Dead Eyes had some serious anger issues. He never wanted to share why he was here with many folks (CP) and looked like he was constantly on the verge of snapping and having a , meltdown. He had dark, beady eyes that seemed to stare a hole in the middle distance. He transferred to a prison in Florida to be closer to home, and I'm not sure who's happier--him or us. However, I did enjoy our conversations about sports, especially college football and Duke and Notre Dame lacrosse. MAMMONE- Young, not fully emotionally or intellectually developed man here for CP charges. He suffered from some sort of physical/congenital disability that left him with skinny limbs, spindly fingers, and a small, narrow head. He was in GED class and could learn, but he had memory issues and some concepts were clearly over his head. The GED was out of his reach. This was a guy that should have been warned by the police and maybe sent to a group home with added counseling. He had zero business in prison. - HOUSE; This African-American man lived in my unit and was inprison for his second (third? fourth?) prison stint. He was a guy who would talk a mile-a-minute and always had things to tell about real estate (money laundering), the restaurant business (stealing from the kitchen), or some other enterprise (scheme). This trip to prison involved laundering drug money in the housing market. He was a smart enough guy, friendly, and generous with his time. Still, he was so wrapped up in the world of gang and street culture, that there was very little chance that he was ever going to do things the legitimate, disciplined way. As with many guys here, he seemed to "light up" whenever talk turned to gangs, violence, sports gambling, rap music, pit bulls, strip clubs etc. He was "institutionalized" in the most direct sense of the word. MR. LOWE- I didn't really know Mr. Lowe except to see him around the compound. He was quiet, bald, bespecled, harmless, and built like a 5-foot tall cylinder. He was the same width from top-to-bottom. He shuffled around with a walker, and I would guess he was on some sort of medication ("Thorazine Shuffle"[?]). He had sort of wide-set eyes, a permanent grin, and looked a little toadish because of it. One would guess that he was easily in his 60's, but he was in his early 50's. He recently left Elkton, went to Cleveland, caught a bus to Columbus, and was promptly mugged of $7 at knifepoint in the Columbus bus station. He was surely an easy mark. Who knew he was safer at Elkton-FSL than on the streets? Oh well.... ALEX- Alex was from Alexandria, VA. "Alex" was the FORMER prison nickname of Jackmon. Jackmon, as he as known here at FSL, was a prison law library "lawyer"/"hustler" who always wanted to know ALL about your case. Federal paperwork showed up one day that revealed that Alex/Jackmon was a snitch. He had previously turned on former associates to get out of a ~35 year crack cocaine sentence. Not being able to leave well enough alone, Jackmon was later arrested and convicted on charges of distribution of powder cocaine. Now, he's trying to provide additional information on prison inmates to have THIS sentence reduced. Jackmon carried himself as a real smooth homeboy and when the "snitch" paperwork showed up, we thought it might create problems for him, but no one really seemed to care. All that aside, he was an asset in his role of coordinating the spin class schedules. He transferred to another prison. FLEET- lnteresting character from G unit who lived in Hawaii and Vancouver prior to coming to Elkton. He always had a story to one-up your experience or an unbelievable story of a past accomplishment. He wore a ponytail and a mustache that was waxed and twirled into a pointed tip. Sort of a hippie meets F. Scott Fitzgerald look. In spite of being boastful, he was smart and insightful. His immediate plans were to leave Elkton, go to the Mississippi Delta, live on a house boat, and win money at casinos. He claimed that he had figured out how to "beat the house." Those plans didn't work out, and he moved to D.C. instead. ‘ ' PELLOSKl- I've written about the Columbus, OH oncologist who was here for a one—year and a day sentence. He did his time and went to Columbus, OH halfway house. Now, I think he's off to Cincinnati and, later, distant points to try and resume his research/clinical practice(s). He'll have to gethis medical license back to p:";ctice medicine. That won't be an. issue to secure a research lab position. The developing world can always use doctors, and he's considering that option. I GREEK ROCKY- There are archetypes everywhere in prison. One is the slimy, saccharine, ethnic user/con-artist. Often the cartoonish caricature is just the worst imaginable extension of an actual person. Sometimes, you actually meet that cartoon. Early on, I fell under the sway of Elkton's version and became his roommate for awhile. Rocky claimed to have earned his name at Bloody Beaumont where he claimed he was a boxer (hmmmm????), and he had all sorts of schemes to take advantage of your contacts and generosity to further his personal goals. Unfortunately for him, the schemes were often transparent or preposterous enough that you simply declined to participate. After basically wearing out his welcome here (and glomming onto every new arrival), Rocky transferred to a prison in CT that was converted from a women's to a men's prison. I did learn a phrase from him, though. He was known to ''clean up" in the sinks and rarely shower. This wash cloth and baby =~ powder routine is known as a "whore bath". He was here on financial fraud charges involving some connected Pittsburgh officials. He didn't cooperate with authorities, and he absorbed the prison time for everyone in the scheme, about 15 years. 2 NYC DIRTY COP—lmagine a bald, tattooed, muscular, proudly ethnic Italian, racist cop from Staten Island. Got the stereotype? Now put him among a bunch of sex offenders at Elkton and you have a recent inmate. This guy was here on a federal civil rights violation charge and a second minor offense. Story: A man stole his snow plow that was on his truck and was part of his second business. He and some other cops went and took the snow plow back from the AfAm offender and beat him up to send a message. At some point, he used the n-word in discussing this events over the phone and was recorded on a wiretap. l was slow to warm to him (probably mutual) but, later, I found his stories and story-telling to be pretty addictive. You don't and won't find two like this guy here. He's shopping the book he wrote here; frankly, I'd probably buy it. Others from HA unit who have recently departed- Iraqi Fred, Wes Lawrence, D'ambrosio, Jason Jurek, and Ron Keats. Also, Deaf Ryan from softball just went to the SHU with shingles. // ./ A/".v.zi§ 7“/:.z2‘L< /'4 — /7‘”/’<“' W“ *"i’/"‘/“""’”' I EWA9 THE W0/ll\EN'6 . .-;-:1».-:=.z.,‘.='_-~

Author: Elkton Kevin

Author Location: Ohio

Date: September 2015

Genre: Essay

Extent: 10 pages

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